Author: Varner, Mark

Turlock in the springtime
Dear friends,

The campout was cooooooool. The weather was not Ė it was perfect. Man, the only thing I donít like about Turlock is the noise. Yeah, I know, Iím supposed to love trains, being a country goober, and I kind of do. But thereís a limit and those things running by the Stanislaus Country Fairgrounds are not only loud, but plentiful. Oh, well. It was well worth it to see all those familiar faces and hear all that picking last weekend.

Good pal and CBA boardwoman, Deb Livermore wrote a review, so letís let her tell ya about the event, eh?

2008 CBA Spring Campout
By Deb Livermore
AAAAAHHHHHH, Yes! The California Bluegrass Season has officially started! That comment was made several times this past weekend. After what seemed to be a long winter, with just a couple of events provided, we knew that our wait was over. Even the weather man seemed to know it was time for friends to get together in the open air and enjoy each otherís company and the music that brings us together. It was warm, almost too warm, and sunny. The intermittent gentle breezes that came through the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds were welcome.

I arrived Thursday evening after work and there were already lots of rigs circled in camps. It was fun going through the grounds to see who had arrived. By Saturday morning the park had really filled. Close to 150 RVs and tents were in place. Our Community was complete.

As for the music, well, there was lots of it. People had been practicing over the winter months and new tunes could be heard at most jams. Of course the favorites were played as well.

Our festivities started with Friday nightís chicken dinner, presented by Chef Mike. His accomplices bar-b-qued the chicken on site and boy was it good. Beans by Chef Ed (Baker). Music by Pat Calhoun and her fine band. What a way to start a fine weekend.

Saturday was filled with activities. The afternoon presented the band scramble. We had a fun, fun band scramble. There was lots of wonderful music and many laughs had by all!!!!

The names of the bands and their participants are as follows. Please forgive me if there is no last name. I didnít get them all. Bands were: Me and The Juke Box: Buzz Lew, Armando, Dave Rietz, Bruno Brandly, Richard Smith, and Alexander/ The Diesel Corn Dogs: Dave Gooding, Randy Weese, Gail Reese, Craig Kincaid, and Matt Milan / Turlock Lefty and The 4 Js: Kerner Breaux, Doug Carlton, Mary Curtain, John Cogdill, Jason, and Ed Barker / Mountain Do (Do): Mike Gibson, Karl Kummerle, Bill S., Frank Solivan, Bob Man, and Raine Escobar / 20/20 Vision and Walking Round Blind: Paul Chesterton, Jerry Barush, Steve Pextar, Brian Anderson, and Bill Burkhart / The Last Straw: Kristen Willis, Larry Kuhn, Tim Edes, Yossef Tucker / The Left Overs: Valerie Conejo, Gene Roth, Tom Naiman, Bill Meiners, Steve West, and Kelvin Gregory.

I hope all of the participants in this event had a great time. In my mind, this is supposed to be fun. Winning is not the important thing. The camaraderie and the making of the music is! All of these people were appreciated for their musical skills and admired for their guts to get up on stage in front of a bunch of people that they didnít know, to perform the music that we all love! Thank you so much for your participation and I hope we get to do it again!

Oh and A Great Big Thanks to Henry Zuniga for providing the sound equipment and making everyone sound spectacular!

Late Saturday afternoon a meeting was held with the Area Vice Presidents. Bob Thomas gave important information and advice to those that will be helping their respective communities have access to bluegrass music. Iím sure they will all do their best to give you just that!

Saturday evening held a very special treat. Henry, again, was at his best as MC and soundman for our open mic night. All were invited to get up in front of the audience and perform. To open the show there were two groups of kids. One group I had seen many times Ė AJ Lee, Marty Varner and the Schwartz Brothers. I have loved seeing them all perform and this Saturday night was no different. Their musical skills are progressing at a rapid speed. The second youthful group, The Mighty Chiplings, I had never seen before and it was so great to see new young faces performing with an energy that lets you know that they will be around for many years! There were several other performers including AJ and her mom. They performed two songs, both bringing tears to my eyes. I am the sappy kind you know. Next came Larry Kuhn and friend. They were fun to watch. The last group I saw was ďThe Dalton Mountain GangĒ. Be ready to see those guys again. They are on the road to success in the Bluegrass Community. Great musicianship and theyíre entertaining as well!

The jamming on Thursday, Friday and Saturday was everywhere. You could hardly walk 100 yards without finding a new group of people playing quality music. I sat at my camp for a little while and could see two jams on opposite sides of the center of the action. I could hear each and they were playing the same song. Their timing was a little different but it was fun listening to see if they would somehow get to the same place in the song and play for me in stereo. It didnít happen but it was fun none the less.

I got to meet quite a few new people and I look forward to getting together with them again sometime. Lots of talk was of where we were going next in our bluegrass journeys. Some will be at Parkfield for their festival on Motherís Day weekend. Unfortunately I canít do that one. But lots and lots of people are looking forward to the CBA Fatherís Day Festival in Grass Valley, as am I.

Sunday morning was the monthly CBA Board Meeting. There was an open invitation for the general membership to attend, as is tradition at the Spring and Fall camp-outs. We had a good turn out, with lots of good discussion. The meeting adjourned in record time, as many of us needed to get home to prepare for the coming week. I hated coming out of the meeting and finding half of our little village had packed up and left. It is my least favorite part of any festival or camp out. I just want these gatherings to last forever. Oh wellÖ until I figure out a way to make that happen, itís time to get back to real life, including finishing the planning and implementation of the next festival Ė Grass Valley here we come! Until then my friends, take care and travel safely. Oh, and thanks for a great weekend of Bluegrass and Friendship. Bluegrass Hugs to All.
Posted:  4/14/2008

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